I met Laurie through one of my Etsy teams.
I was immediately charmed by her love of color & whimsical paintings.
Laurie Sikorowski is an artistic blogger, too!
Find her in her Etsy shop, "Artful Bits & Bytes"
Laurie says . . .
"Growing up, I could spend hours creating imaginary worlds. I would go through realms of paper illustrating the images in my mind. One picture would always lead to another and another and another...
In college, I channeled this need to create to the field of architecture.
Whether designing a single house or an entire community,
I love the process of taking people’s stories, dreams, and desires,
and blending them with my own to create something wholly unique.
So for twenty years and counting, I’ve designed buildings as my way of storytelling.
Through the years, art became secondary. In my head, it morphed into this deep esoteric concept, completely divorced from the fantasies that I still drew in private as cards and papercrafts.
Then something rebloomed. I found myself filling countless sketchbooks at a remarkable rate. I wanted to surround myself with simple joys. I was drawn to whimsical quirky characters. Art fills my mind and heart and spills unexpectedly on to whatever I have at hand.
So after the insightful nudgings of family and friends, here I am, and
here is some of my work. I hope you enjoy."
Thank you, Laurie, for making us all smile!!
Anny lives in Canada & says: "I am very inspired by nature.
Portable/Wearable Fine Art.
Art, fine art photography . . . beautiful images.
This photography was taken in afternoon sunlight
near harvest time in our 'apple orchard'.
(Can you call it an orchard if there are only 5 apple trees
and 2 pear trees?) We canned apples from this tree
for pie filling. I've been ill & have to take several
'horse pills' at each meal. They were not going down well.
Eric, my dear husband, opened a jar of our canned apple pie filling, put some of it in the
blender, warmed it in the microwave. That done, he broke my pills in half and put them into
the applesauce. The pills dissolve a bit and taste much less bitter than when I was
chewing them up. So, do I like our apple trees? I do.
This past winter when the trees were bare, I looked again at this photo.
We've all seen things like this with 'art' as an embellishment.
I found a place that had superior quality handbags that could accomodate my
photograph. This is the result. Now I can take a bit of my orchard wherever I want.
It's sturdy, stain resistent and beautiful. At least I think so.
I thank God for the beauty, the nutrition, the pleasure He provides us all every day
all around us! You can take this with you, too!! Click to see this handbag
You choose embellishment options, you'd like custom 'massage therapy' HUG GLOVES!
"Red Tuxedo" STRETCH COTTON Fingerless Gloves
Someone will wear these. They include pieces of my heart and my Mother's.
The lace bits on one glove is from my Mother's sewing box.
I'm using her 'pieces' for my work now.
She made so many beautiful handmade things.
She passed on her love and 'pieces of her heart' in her sewing
and knitting boxes when she went to Heaven in 2009.
Her legacy of love and beauty informs my work with textiles.
These HUG GLOVES fit! They are NOT bulky, baggy or 'uncool'.
The stretch, all-season cotton give a kind of 'hand massage' as you wear them.
More views of my 'massage therapy' HUG GLOVES are found
The True Story of Thanksgiving
The story of the Pilgrims begins in the early part of the seventeenth century. The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone and everyone who did not recognize its absolute civil and spiritual authority.
Those who challenged ecclesiastical authority and those who believed strongly in freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs. A group of separatists first fled to Holland and established a community.
"After eleven years, about forty of them agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where they would certainly face hardships, but could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.
On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford.
On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example.
"And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work. But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford's detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness.
There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims – including Bradford's own wife – died of either starvation, sickness or exposure. When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats.
"Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments.
Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well.
"Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the '60s and '70s out in California – and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way." There's no question they were organic vegetables.
"Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action.
Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace. That's right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn't work!"
They nearly starved!
"It never has worked! What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years – trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it – the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently.
What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson.
If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future," such as that we're enduring now.
"'The experience that we had in this common course and condition...'" this is Bradford. "'The experience that we had in this common course and condition tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,' Bradford wrote.
"'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense,'" without being paid for it, "'that was thought injustice.' Why should you work for other people when you can't work for yourself?" That's what he was saying. "
The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property.
"Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.' ... Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s?
Yes. Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41. Following Joseph's suggestion (Gen 41:34),
Pharaoh reduced the tax on Egyptians to 20% during the 'seven years of plenty' and the 'Earth brought forth
in heaps.' (Gen. 41:47) In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves.
"Now, this is where it gets really good, folks, if you're laboring under the misconception that I was, as I was taught in school. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration.'
But this story stops when the Indians taught the newly arrived suffering-in-socialism Pilgrims how to plant corn and fish for cod. That's where the original Thanksgiving story stops, and the story basically doesn't even begin there. The real story of Thanksgiving is William Bradford giving thanks to God for the guidance and the inspiration to set up a thriving colony. The bounty was shared with the Indians." They did sit down" and they did have free-range turkey and organic vegetables, "but it was not the Indians who saved the day. It was capitalism and Scripture which saved the day," as acknowledged by George Washington in his first Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789.
From Rush Limbaugh
Ebony & Ivory scarflettes $40 each
I wanted to share a story I read while knitting these scarflettes
another piano teacher wrote about one of her students.
STUDENT TEACHES THE TEACHER
At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Hondorf.
I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa.
I've always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons -
something I've done for over 30 years.
Over the years, I found that children have many levels of musical ability.
I've never had the pleasure of having a prodigy, though I have taught some talented students.
However, I've also had my share of what I call "musically challenged"pupils.
One such student was Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single Mom)
dropped him off for his first piano lesson.
I prefer that students (especially boys!) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby.
But Robby said that it had always been his mother's dream to hear him play the piano.
So I took him as a student.
Well, Robby began with his piano lessons, and from the beginning
I thought it was a hopeless endeavor.
As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel.
But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary pieces that
I require all my students to learn.
Over the months, he tried and tried, while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him.
At the end of each weekly lesson, he'd always say, "My mom's going to hear me play someday."
But it seemed hopeless. He just did not have any inborn ability.
I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited
in her aged car to pick him up.
She always waved and smiled but never stopped in.
Then one day, Robby stopped coming to our lessons.
I thought about calling him but assumed because of his lack of ability,
that he had decided to pursue something else.
I also was glad that he stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!
Several weeks later, I mailed to the student's homes a flyer on the upcoming recital.
To my surprise, Robby (who received a flyer) asked me if he could be in the recital.
I told him that the recital was for current pupils and because he had
dropped out he really did not qualify.
He said that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons but he was still
practicing. "Miss Hondorf . . . I've just got to play!" he insisted.
I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital.
Maybe it was his persistence or maybe it was something
inside of me saying that it would be all right.
The night for the recital came.
The high school gymnasium was packed with parents, friends, and relatives.
I put Robby up last in the program before I was to come up and thank all the students and
play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he would do would come
at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance
through my "curtain closer."
Well, the recital went off without a hitch.
The students had been practicing and it showed.
Then Robby came up on stage.
His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked like he'd run an eggbeater through it.
"Why didn't he dress up like the other students?" I thought.
"Why didn't his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?"
Robby pulled out the piano bench and he began.
I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen Mozart's Concerto #21 in C Major.
I was not prepared for what I heard next.
His fingers were light on the keys; they even danced nimbly on the ivories.
He went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso.
His suspended chords that Mozart demands were ... Magnificent!
Never had I heard Mozart played so well by people his age.
After six and a half minutes, he ended in a grand crescendo and
everyone was on their feet in wild applause.
Overcome and in tears, I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy.
"I've never heard you play like that Robby! How'd you do it?"
Through the microphone, Robby explained:
"Well Miss Hondorf . . . remember I told you my Mom was sick?
Well, actually she had cancer and passed away this morning.
And well . . . she was born deaf so tonight was the first time
she ever heard me play. I wanted to make it special."
There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening.
As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into foster care,
I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy, and I thought to myself
how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.
No, I've never had a prodigy but that night I became a prodigy. . . of Robby's.
He was the teacher and I was the pupil, for it is he that taught
me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself, and
maybe even taking a chance in someone and you don't know why.
I feel a bit of sadness that summer is ending.
I look forward to summer most of the year.
I love it’s promise of warmth, color,
the hopes, dreams, the change of routine.
I don’t like to let it go . . . but it’s leaving . . .
I picked up some yarn . . . colors I love . . .
vibrant . . . warming . . . very soft.
As it passed caressingly through my fingers,
the colors unfolded. Autumn colors.
Hmm . . . this is pretty, it’looks like an
Autumn rainbow. I love rainbows.
And rainbow promises. God gave one.
So, while knitting this piece, I felt my perspective changing . . . was I feeling a bit of anticipation?
Am I looking forward to God’s fireworks? Am I looking forward to watching
Him color the world with blazing color? Yes, I am!!
Funny how knitting this piece ‘fixed’ my attitude!
More photos of 'Autumn Rainbows' here http://www.janetlongarts.com/featured.html
'TEA' clematis for the Turquoise, Emerald, and Amethest color of this blossom.
'TEA' you ask?
Those are the beginning initials
of three of my favorite colors together.
Turquoise. Emerald. Amythest.
I purchased this clematis vine
several years ago.
It's planted it under a tulip tree outside
our bedroom window.
After at least five years of no or minimal
blooms, 2011 gave about one dozen blooms.
I was very unimpressed by the limey green color of the tight, but large, buds. They didn't stand out.
Too close to the color of the leaves. Then, they began showing some white along with the green.
OK, more interesting, but the center of the emerging blossom was still an unimpressive green.
Then, some pinkish tinging on the petals along with the green. Took some photos. Waited more days.
Watched the blooms. Differences became apparent. Differences from bloom to bloom. Interesting!
A kaleidoscope of color. Not just any color, but my favorite colors together!!
The 'kicker'? I cannot remember, cannot find the name of this clematis variety!
The proverbial 'moral of the story'? God makes all thing beautiful in His time! YES!
So, if you think something looks like it won't amount to much, hang in there? Wait!
Glad I waited to see what God did with this one. Waiting to see what he can still do with me . . .
Meet Shelly, my featured artisan creator of ‘Handmade Creations by Shelly’ on Etsy.
Hand knit or crochet, Shelly's got it!
Ponchos, gloves, scarves, Fun Fur purses, felted purses, holders for GPS, lip balm,
hand sanitizer, tissues, Shelly makes ALL those small things that get lost in your purse 'findable'
Shelly does bright & colorful, so you can't small things 'lost' anymore!!
Shelly's got you covered!! I do mean COVERED. If she doesn't have it, she'll make it!!
Mugs? Yep, she makes custom mugs. Cute custom mugs, celebratory mugs, whimsical mugs . . .
Shelly again, at the ready, to do custom for you!!
I met Shelly Attenberg a few weeks ago on Etsy.
Shelly had heard that I was featuring select artisans for my blog
and she expressed an interest in being featured here.
She offered to call me so we could have a chat about her up-coming feature and she did.
We had a lovely chat. She's a very kind, sincere and loving person . . .
Yes, I could tell that from talking with her for a bit.
We'd crossed one another's paths on Etsy, but getting to actually speak on the phone is really nice.
We all are aware that many people have lost their jobs in the past few years.
Many people, like Shelly, are working from home making things that will be of use
to others and bring some income to help their families.
We all are holding onto our wallets a bit more tightly right now, but I would encourage you to visit
Shelly's Etsy shop and take a look.
You will find something there that would be the perfect gift for yourself , a loved one or a friend.
Here's what Shelly says about herself:
"I live in Connecticut and my passion is hand knitting and crocheting.
I love creating NEW items all year round.
Customers at my shows love watching me knit while having a conversation with them
without looking at what I am doing.
My husband and daughters never see me without needles in my hand and working on something.
I guess you could say that I am a knitting fanatic.
My signature is using fun fur as an accent for most of my items.
The industry seems to be going through more changes again and fun fur seems to be on its way out.
I also love creating my Designer Collection which are
one of a kind pieces and are normally Special Order requests.
Let me know what you are looking for maybe a sweater, blanket, coat, christening outfit,
or whatever it is and I will be happy to make it for you."
Now, that's what I call accommodating!!
Find Shelly here:
Shelly is also a proud member of these Etsy teams that support artisans making handmade things:
TAGT, On Fire for Handmade , Handmade Harbor, Pure Handmade , WWES & LACWE Teams.
Shelly always says, "Have a wonderful day!" She means it! Let's do it!